Monday, May 12, 2008

"Visiting Day"

Amachi Kids Club on Saturday was very meaningful. We tackled incarceration issues head on and no matter how scary it was, it seemed to be so comforting for the children. We watched a video (Reading Rainbow) that included two sections: discussion of a book and then a segment about an actual family dealing with their father’s incarceration. The book is called “Visiting Day,” about a young girl and grandmother visiting the daddy in prison and they just talk about what they are feeling and how they think the father is feeling. The pictures are great but it is a really short book. The really impactful part is the true story. We did not show the whole video because some of the images were so graphic. The father said he shot someone and there were the constant noises of slamming doors. And the sound of prison doors slamming are totally different than a bedroom door slamming. A bedroom door slamming is like a cloudy day with some mist and the feeling one gets when being around a prison door slamming is that of a hurricane. I don’t notice it now but a prison is a place that one should feel uncomfortable and it was significant to create an atmosphere at Kids Club where children felt extreme comfort Mary and Sara brought in blankets for the children to lie on. As the movie began and the Reading Rainbow song came on the kids started singing the theme song. And when I say singing I mean singing, it was like a choir. It was hilarious!!! Take a look it’s in a book, it’s reading rainbow. Come on with me people belt it out. So we watched about a twenty minute section and then got into two groups to discuss what they just saw. We had a younger group and an older group. There were five of us from Big Brothers Big Sisters who did a whole planning session to create the questions and they included the following game plan:

· When children arrive make handprint flowers
· Do Ice Breaker-“Link Up”(Rachel): One person stands and talks about themself. When someone in the group has something in common with something they’ve said, they get up and link arms with the speaking person. Only one person at a time. They declare the thing that they had in common and then begin talking about themself until someone else comes up with the something in common with them. The activity continues until all group members are “Linked Up.”
· Sara G. describes how we are all “linked up,” description of Amachi Kids Club, etc. and let children know what to do if they are uncomfortable with movie, etc.
· At 2:30/2:45pm Watch “Visiting Day.”
· Break into small groups…and use a paper plate to draw how you feel
· Reflect on the following questions: (in no particular order)
1. When a parent goes to prison what do you think changes/happens?
2. How do you think your family is similar and different to the Goodens?
3. Who from the Gooden family do you relate to most (i.e. think you are most like them)? How? Characters include-Nikki, Chris, Malik, Malcom, Holten and Irene
4. Have you ever felt like Malik? Why do you think Malik is angry?
Another thought because they stress family relationship
5. Do you think it helps that the brothers and sisters can talk about what is going on?
6. What do you think will happen to this family?
· Gather back in one group (Mary would you like to lead this?)-to have children come up and write reflections on the big sheet of paper
· Conclusion (Carly) whatever you are feeling is ok…
7. Give out flowers and snack. See you next month for break dancing.

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